Thomas Lipscomb weighs in on the supposed release of the entire John Kerry military file to the Boston Globe in today’s Chicago Sun-Times. Lipscomb reminds his readers that the SF-180 is not a magic bullet, and that the scope of release depends on how the form was filled out:
“There is nothing magic about signing a SF 180,” said former Naval Judge Advocate General Mark Sullivan. “It is sort of like your checkbook. You can fill out a check for one dollar or a million. It is the same check form.”
“And the Globe story says Kerry sent it to the Navy Personnel Command, which is only a limited storage location. So it is not surprising that the Globe then notes that what they received was largely ‘duplication’ of records previously released. The Navy Personnel Command primarily stores a subset of service records rather than a person’s full military records. There is no doubt there are a lot of after-action records missing from what Kerry has released,” said Sullivan.
Washington Post reporter Michael Dobbs has already found a discrepancy confirmed by the Department of the Navy of “at least a hundred pages” missing from those already disclosed by Kerry.
“If you take a look at my SF 180,” O’Neill said, “you will see I have authorized the total release of all my records to anyone requesting to see them. But without seeing how Kerry’s SF 180 was filled out, everyone is only guessing about what was released.”
As I wrote after the Globe story broke a couple of days ago, Michael Kranish has limited credibility as an impartial journalist in his coverage of Kerry, and the fact that the Globe got the file but won’t release the contents in PDF format for everyone to see sounds somewhat suspicious. Many questions remain about Kerry’s service, as I also pointed out. Kranish remains silent on several points of controversy that the secrecy of the files helped stoke. Namely, Kranish doesn’t mention anything about Kerry’s discharge, and why it took him until 1978 to get it, while he quit serving in 1972. He doesn’t mention any assignment or attachment to an intelligence unit that would corroborate his later explanations of Christmas In Cambodia or gun-running to the Khmer Rouge. Kranish also doesn’t reveal anything about the timeline of events or command assignments that would answer whether he tried to steal part of Tedd Peck’s service record in order to provide cover for David Alston to lie about their time together during the political campaign.
When we see the documentation that answers these questions, then we might be convinced that we’ve seen the entire record. Until then, as Lipscomb notes, we haven’t seen anything different than the peek-a-boo that Kerry tried during the presidential campaign.